A GANG of 'youth bikers' are facing action from police after causing chaos in a town centre.

Last weekend, the two-wheeled tearaways converged on Middlesbrough town centre - blocking roads and pavements, crowding pedestrianised areas and intimidating shoppers.

The Northern Echo:

Following the incident, Middlesbrough Council has vowed to crack down on anti-social behaviour and deter further gangs appearing.

The council said its Street Wardens and Neighbourhood Safety Officers are working closely with Cleveland Police to identify and deter the weekend's individuals.

Sixteen of those involved have now been identified, and investigations are continuing.

Schools will be visited and warning letters issued to parents in a drive to stamp out the gatherings which are believed to be organised via social media.

The Northern Echo:

And today, Friday January 10, Cleveland Police will put a 48-hour dispersal order in place to break up any further bikers.

The dispersal order will be in place from 4pm today where anyone engaging in anti-social behaviour will be asked to move on and not return for a period of 48 hours.

Those who breach the order by returning to the area can be arrested.

Inspector Darren Birkett of Cleveland Police said: "The order is being put in place as a result of an increase in anti-social behaviour involving large groups of youths and anti-social cycling in Middlesbrough town centre.

The Northern Echo: Map showing the area covered by the dispersal orderMap showing the area covered by the dispersal order

"The order means that officers can disperse large groups of youths who may be behaving in an anti-social behaviour manner, or causing alarm or distress to members of the public."

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston added: "Cycling's great, and I'd encourage all young people to get out and about on two wheels.

"But that doesn't mean swamping the town centre mob-handed, blocking roads and intimidating law-abiding shoppers and residents.

"It's just thuggery, and we won't tolerate it.

"We already know who many of them are, and their parents will be hearing from us and the police.

"I'd also urge parents to make sure they know where their kids are."